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[boon-dog-uh l, -daw-guh l] /ˈbunˌdɒg əl, -ˌdɔ gəl/
a product of simple manual skill, as a plaited leather cord for the neck or a knife sheath, made typically by a camper or a scout.
work of little or no value done merely to keep or look busy.
a project funded by the federal government out of political favoritism that is of no real value to the community or the nation.
verb (used with object), boondoggled, boondoggling.
to deceive or attempt to deceive:
to boondoggle investors into a low-interest scheme.
verb (used without object), boondoggled, boondoggling.
to do work of little or no practical value merely to keep or look busy.
Origin of boondoggle
1930-35, Americanism; said to have been coined by R. H. Link, American scoutmaster, as name for def 1
Related forms
boondoggler, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for boondoggle


(intransitive) to do futile and unnecessary work
a futile and unnecessary project or work
Derived Forms
boondoggler, noun
Word Origin
C20: said to have been coined by R. H. Link, American scoutmaster
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for boondoggle

1935, American English, of uncertain origin, popularized during the New Deal as a contemptuous word for make-work projects for the unemployed. Said to have been a pioneer word for "gadget;" it also was by 1932 a Boy Scout term for a kind of woven braid.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for boondoggle



: The public's got the idea that this is a boondoggle, a Rube Goldberg


To spend public funds outlandishly or on futile activity

[mid-1930s+; origin uncertain; verb said to be fr the iron-smelting industry, meaning ''make unprofitable attempts to retrieve good iron from slag''; noun found by 1940s meaning ''an ornamental thong made by Boy Scouts'' and suggesting mere make-work]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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